I’ve decided that one of the comments from the last post was the perfect theme for the whole kitchen renovation: MAKE THE UGLY GO AWAY.
Well, last week we finally arrived at the end of demolition and the beginning of construction. Honestly? It was exhausting to think that we were just about to start! It took two full weekends and several evenings totaling about 25 hours of ripping out the old kitchen to make way for the new plan. Basically, we made the room one big empty box, a blank slate to start new.
Replace the subfloor: As I mentioned in the last post the old subfloor was 3/8″ plywood and bouncy like a trampoline. Once it, and the wood sleepers were gone, we had 2 3/4″ transition from the original tongue-and-groove oak subfloor to the height of the other floors to make up some how. To make it more tricky there were:
- 2 exterior door transitions
- 2 interior door transitions
- 1 open transition where the floor from two different rooms met
- ~1 inch of sagging in the middle of the floor
We knew for a good tile installation we needed to use:
- 3/4″ exterior grade plywood (min. thickness)
- 1/8″ Ditra uncoupling membrane (instead of cement board)
- ~1/3″ porcelain tile (happened to be the thickness of what we picked)
- thickness of the mortar between the Ditra and the tile
Thank only added up to ~1.25 inches. The difference in height was ~2.75 inches, so we still had 1.5 inches to make up AND we needed to level the floor some how.
SO we thought about:
- $$ – self lever, which is messy, sort of expensive, and would do nothing for the difference in floor height.
- $$$$$$$$$ – Adding two more layers of 3/4″ plywood.
- $ – putting sleepers back on top of the tongue-and-groove oak floor, and shimming up the low spots where the floor sagged. Which is what I think they originally tried to do, but failed.
We decided to go with sleepers because……..if we use a 2×4 on the flat, it is actually 1.5″ not 2″ (confusing enough but standard that milled wood is not the actually dimensions listed). Adding 1.5″ would get us a perfect transition to the existing doorways. Also it was the cheapest option, BUT not the least time consuming.
What we did looks kind of like this, minus the grass???…with a thicker subfloor…and not over concrete, but you get the idea.
Yikes, this post about the floor is going on and on. Fast forward past two days of:
- crawling around on hands and knees
- with a bundle of shims
- 15 12′ 2x4s
- a 4′ level
- 2.5″ wood screws (for the sleepers)
- 1.5″ exterior grade wood screws (for the plywood)
- a kick-backing circular saw
- 3 trips to Lowes
- a truck rental to move all the -ish
- sore knees
- an achy lower back
- occasional yelling
- and a book on tape
The sleepers were installed perpendicular to the joists screwed into the tongue-and-groove oak subfloor and the new plywood subfloor was installed perpendicular to the sleepers with alternating seams to increase stability, avoid any weak spots, and hopefully provide additional uncoupling from the house’s floor structure.
We did a lot of research and this seemed like the best way to go and the right way to do it. If we did anything incorrectly – don’t tell me! It’s too late now and I am never doing it again. Haha…..no, but really, don’t say anything.
Well gosh, I was going to tell you about removing the wall and moving the plumbing/ duct work and all those shenanigans, but this post is already too long.
We are in full-on demolition mode! Here is what has been happening the last week:
- Cabinets: Cabinets aka mouse motel. I think there was 80 years of mouse poop under the cabinets, in the cabinets, in the wall, in the stove, in the dishwasher etc…. Along with poop was a nice assortment of nuts and birdseed. We are going to have to get Nutcracker on this mouse situation!
- Stainless steel countertops and back splash: What a bear this was! The backsplash was installed with a thick mastic that pulled off the finish plaster coat. I see skim-coating in my near future.
- Bamboo floor: I had never removed a floor before, it was pretty straightforward EXCEPT that they glued down all the boards in the transition areas (doorways) with the same mastic they used behind the backsplash. The subfloor in these areas was destroyed because there was no clean way to separate the mastic from the boards.
- Subfloor: The destroyed subfloor had to be removed anyway, because we discovered a few issued once the bamboo floor came up:
- It was only 3/8″ thick – not at all suitable for a tile installation. Very suitable for a trampoline. Let’s just say the floor gave a new meaning to “bounce in your step”!
- It was not flat or level
- It was laid on top of sleepers that were shimmed in different places in an attempt to level the floor.
- Once the plywood was up, and the sleepers were removed, we were back to the original subfloor – tongue and groove oak boards.
- Pantry carefully removed: So sad to see the pantry go! It didn’t make sense to keep it, at least in the original location. It was very awkward coming in through the back door and side stepping the pantry to take off our shoes in the middle of the floor. This area will be mini-mudroom with hooks and a bench. The pantry was disassembled piece -by-piece so it can be reassembled in a new location. May I just say, this pantry was the definition of a masterfully built custom cabinetry. Holy Cow! It took hours to remove each nail and board but it was worth it.
- Wall between fridge and pantry: To open up the kitchen and make a new location for the fridge, we removed this wall. Even with our planning, we didn’t count on the plumbing and duct work that had to be relocated …wah…wah…
- Soffits: good news – all the soffits were empty. Also they were made of cardboard…which was surprising, but it made for easy removal.
To see pictures of the kitchen before the demolition, click here.
Here it is! All of my inspirations for the kitchen renovation laid out in one place.
- 1. Carrera marble. I have read all about the pros and cons (staining, etching etc..) I am now fully informed, and still can’t get over the classic look this work surface provides. We plan to do our counters in a honed Carrera. Going with a honed vs. polished finish will help to cut down on the appearance of etching.
- 2. Once I saw the brass and crystal cabinet knob combination – I decided to go with brass the whole way, pulls, sink etc… We have so many antiques in our house that have brass pulls or feet, it just made sense to use the same metal in the kitchen. Now that ‘brass is back’ there are so many great options for unlaquered brass or antiqued brass, so the 1980s polished brass look can be avoided.
- 3. The kitchen has a weird layout and I want to avoid having the dishwasher and range right next to each other. It seemed natural to split the cooktop and the oven in to two appliances to avoid this problem. I love this 5 burner 30″ gas cooktop from Bosch.
- 4. I like the look of the vintage or antique faucets. The trouble is finding one in my price range. Some of the ones I looked at go all the way up to $1500. This one by Danze for around $300 is a great look for a better price.
- 5. It seems natural to paint the walls a grey color. The marble will have grey veining, the floor with be gray porcelain, and it’s a beautiful complement to dark wood. We plan on going with one of our favorite greys – revere pewter by Benjamin Moore.
- 6. We dreamed of a huge stand alone range hood, but without major alterations to the wall structure and cutting through brick etc… it wasn’t going to happen. Our budget is tight as it is, so we are going to install an under cabinet hood that recirculates air, but can be converted to exhaust outside, if and when we are able to make the change.
- 7. We wanted to do a herringbone tile floor, but it was too much to tackle time-wise, with everything else going on in our lives. Instead we will have the herringbone on the wall in a marble backsplash that will match the counters.
- 8. Since all of the original light fixtures were removed by the previous owners, I spent the last few weeks replacing what was here with period crystal chandeliers. Since I was on a crystal kick, these knobs seemed like a natural choice to carry the continuity through in to the kitchen.
- 9. To keep with the crystal theme, the pendant over the island will be a crystal chandelier. All of the appliances will be stainless steel – a french door fridge with a pantry surround is in the plans too.
- 10. We cook quite a bit and even though we plan to have cabinet storage for pots and pans, I would love to find an affordable brass pot rack we could use.
- 11. We knew that dark cabinets were the way to go for us – we live in a 1930s Tudor revival that has dark woodwork throughout the house. We want the kitchen to feel like it’s part of the home, not like it dropped out of the sky. Shenandoah has the right style, door color and price for our project, and so, we went with the McKinley door in Cherry Bordeaux. We are going to have solid cherry cabinets in the kitchen! Can you tell I am excited?
- 12. I think we have settled on a grey porcelain slate-look rectangular floor tile in a running bond pattern. Dark grey grout to match , and tight grout lines please! They have some affordable options at Home Depot and Lowes, but I’m still looking.
I really wanted to post the mood board for the kitchen renovation today, but I thought I should hold back and show you the kitchen first so you know what we are dealing with.
The kitchen is vintage 1970′s maple cabinetry with industrial light fixtures and a more recent bamboo floor. SEXY….haha. From what I can tell, the kitchen has had at least 2 renovations since the house was built in the 30s. The last owners lived her for ~50 years, and there were only 1 or 2 other owners prior to that.
Bamboo is cool, but doesn’t fit the style of our house (Tudor revival). The layout needs some tweaking which will involve moving some appliances. More on that in a future post.
One of the best parts of the kitchen is a built-in pantry that is original to the house (look for the last photo). It matches several of the other built-ins in other rooms. I suspect it is also pine/fir like most of the woodwork throughout the home. It’s been painted white, so stripping it will be a fun future project.
There are 5 openings/doorways into the kitchen:
- breakfast nook (opening)
- basement (door)
- dining room (opening)
- side door
- garage door
All of the doorways eat into the wall space, but I can’t see eliminating any of them because they give the house terrific circular flow.
I’m so excited to share my inspiration for the kitchen renovation with you later this week. Think brass, marble, and cherry
I’m back from my blog writing hiatus!
Grad school, working full time, traveling every week for my job, and selling our house kept me away from the keyboard. We are in our new house now, and I have sooo much to tell you all. I also have some projects from our old house I didn’t have a chance to share with you.
So, there will be new content coming soon.
Here is a sneak peek of our new digs (google maps had a better picture than I do, go figure!):
It’s needs a lot of work. Exterior landscaping being one of the lower things on the list too – believe it or not. I have grand plans for this place though. It’s taking all my might to stop myself from starting 10,000 different projects all at once. We are tackling a big one in the next few weeks – a complete kitchen gut/renovation. I putting a mood board together and I can’t wait for some feedback.
The good news about the move? We doubled our square footage (we now have 2,600sqft): a few differences from our last place include an office and 1/2 bath on the 1st floor, a large kitchen, den, and two full baths upstairs. Our new neighborhood is really charming too.
Check back for a “before” house tour later this week.
I love one pot dinners because there are hardly any dishes to do. I loathe dish duty. Recently, on a work-from-home day I got a pork roast going in the crockpot and it turned into meat tacos that evening. These were easy to whip up at dinner time and made the house smell amazing all day as the pork simmered away.
I like to make my own barbecue sauce, I’ve included my recipe below, but to be honest it changes every time I make it because I am always throwing something else in.
One more thing, flour tortillas are great, but the texture of corn tortilla in this recipe is really great. If you like this post, then check out my other recipes here.
- 8 tacos
- 4-6 hours of slow cooker time, 15 minutes to assemble
- Slow cooker/ crockpot
- 4 lb pork roast de-thawed (shoulder roast works well)
- 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tbsp of black pepper
- 1/4 tsp of paprika
- 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 8-10 corn tortillas
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 handful of chopped cilantro
- 1 cup of guacamole
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cup fresh (pico) salsa
- 2 cups chopped lettuce
- Put the pork roast in the crockpot on low/medium.
- Combine sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk.
- Add sauce ingredients to crock pot.
- Pork is done when it can easily be pulled apart or shredded with two forks. This may depend on your crock pot, but the longer you leave it in the better, about 4-6 hours, but 8 hours if you can wait that long.
- After 4-6 hours, shred/ pull apart the pork in the crock pot and remove any bones.
- Steam the corn tortillas or heat them up in the microwave for 10 seconds.
- Assemble with toppings and enjoy.
Whenever you see a kitchen in a magazine the counters and window sills are free of clutter. Appliances are put away and there are no cleaning utilities in site.
Let's be real, no one lives like that. I need the soap where I can use it. Sure I could put it under the cabinet, but then every time I need it, I have to open the cabinet with dirty hands.